Wedding Traditions & Superstition

Wedding Traditions & Superstition

Weddings are full of traditions & superstitions, and we do these things out of habit without really knowing the reason why we do them. Think about everything you do on a wedding day… why don’t you see each other before the wedding… why do Bride’s wear a veil… why is it such a big deal to cut a cake?

We’ve researched some of the wedding traditions & superstitions to find the answer and here is what we found.

Cavanagh Grass 2

Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding

This tradition formed back in the day when arranged marriages were all the rage. The belief was that if they saw each other before the wedding, then one of them would pull out of the marriage.

Cavanagh Photography

Walking Down the Aisle

It’s bad luck for the bride to start down the aisle on time, but it is good luck to step into the church with her right foot first. Not sure if being early counts as not being ‘on time’ because Kim arrived 10mins early for our wedding!!

Wedding Church Ceremony

The Vows

Saying your vows when the hour hand on the clock is going upwards, makes you work together in your married life. If you say your wedding vows when the hand is going down, it is bad luck. (This is an Irish superstition that one of our Brides told us).

Cavanagh Photography ceremony


Flower girls drop petals (herbs and seeds in Pagan times) as they walk down the aisle was a way of paying homage to the gods of fertility on behalf of the bride. This is to ensure the new couple will have many chances to have children.

Flower Girl

The Rings

Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand as a symbol of love as it was a Roman belief that it contained a vein that leads directly to the heart.

Hunter Valley wedding photographer08

Wedding Boutonnieres

The Groom is supposed to wear a single flower that appears in the Bridal Bouquet in his button-hole. This stems from the Medieval tradition of a Knight wearing his Lady’s colours generally a handkerchief or flower into a tournament, as a declaration of his love.


The Best Man

The tradition of the Best Man is thought to have come from Germanic history where brides were often “taken” from neighbouring villages, with the Best Man often his strongest friend having helped the groom capture his bride, and stand by him at the wedding ceremony to fight off any relatives that might try to take her back.

Best Man at Wedding


The bridesmaid comes from old pagan rituals with the bridesmaid used to distract and confuse any evil spirits that may be after the bride during the ceremony. It was an English tradition that had the bridesmaids dressing in the same dress as the bride to stop jealous evil wishers singling out the bride and cursing her for her happiness.


The Veil

The veil was first worn by Roman brides as a disguise to outwit evil spirits.


Another reason for the veil is in the time of arranged marriages a veil was used to hide the appearance of a bride until the wedding ceremony was complete so the groom could not run off if he didn’t find her attractive. During this time the veils were made so thick that the bride would not be able to see through it, she would therefore need father to walk her down the aisle and give her away.

Bride walking down aisle

Carrying the Bride over the Threshold

Two Western European beliefs are behind the groom carrying the bride over the threshold, the first being that the new bride should enter her home via the main door and must not trip or fall over as it is a bad omen if the bride should stumble. The second being that evil spirits inhabit the threshold of a new couple’s home and if the bride steps on the threshold the evil spirits would enter through her feet and the marriage would be doomed.

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Cutting of the Cake

The cutting of the cake is full of traditions dating back to Ancient Rome, where bread was broken over the Brides head for luck. The cake cutting symbolically represents the first task the couple do together. Once they have cut the cake they feed it to each other to show their commitment and love to each other.

Cake Cutting


The Irish term for “honeymoon” is mi na meala, which means “the month of honey.” It was an Irish custom for newlyweds to spend a month together after the wedding drinking honeyed wine in a secluded location, just in case their families tried to separate them. This was especially true if the couple had eloped. The belief was that after a month passed the bride would have become pregnant and her family would then prefer her to remain with her new husband.

Cavanagh photography Sydney

Hard to believe half of the things we do on a wedding day stems from kidnappings, warding off evil spirits and ensuring our groom doesn’t run off at the sight of us. It’s fun and it’s nice to know that traditions are continuing. Having said that… I believe couples should make their wedding their own and don’t do things just because you think you need to. We have lots of couples that break tradition. They get dressed together on the wedding day, they don’t cut a cake, they don’t do the bouquet & garter toss. So don’t be afraid to do things differently for your wedding day.

Hey, I’m Adam. A wedding photographer who loves to shoot fun, relaxed couples in a natural and candid way.

I shoot weddings all over Australia, so if you are engaged and looking for a photographer, please check out my work. If you can see yourself in these photos, feel free to get in contact to check my availability. Thanks :)